Board makes Chaney choice
John Protopapa will coach the Cowboys and Brian Shaner was approved at East High.
By JOHN BASSETTI
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Despite the campaign to push Alan Mikovich as new football coach at Chaney High, the Youngstown Board of Education approved John Protopapa for the 2007-08 school year.
Protopapa, a teacher at Woodrow Wilson High, received a one-year supplemental contract paying approximately 7,500.
Earlier, Brian Shaner was approved as the football coach of the new East High School. The vote was 7-0. Shaner's pay is similar.
The board voted 5-2 with members Dom Modarelli and Shelley Murray casting the dissenting votes for Protopapa as the school's fifth coach.
Prior to the vote, there was confusion about whether to table the coaching resolution or not. The board then decided to just call for a vote. The seven members and superintendent Wendy Webb went into executive session for about 20 minutes before emerging to vote on the personnel issue.
A disappointed Mikovich, an assistant coach at Chaney but not a teacher in the city system, said he knew the odds were against him because he was outside the district.
"I knew it would be a fight, but I was just hoping they would have done what would be in the best interest of the kids. I felt I was the best qualified, but we'll never know. I believe other agendas played into this decision."
Mikovich said he thought the pendulum might be swinging his way when the board talked of tabling the issue.
"I thought I had four [members' votes] to get it tabled, but it turned out otherwise."
Tabling meant there was the possibility of the search opening up to an outsider.
"I was hoping they'd finally make that determination, but they've made it clear that they don't want me to part of the Chaney program. They got what they got."
Will look elsewhere
Mikovich, who teaches at Jackson-Milton, said he'll look elsewhere to coach.
"I'll see what lies ahead," he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Chaney Gridiron Club was Cindy Krause, a player's parent.
She revealed that an anonymous West Sider would pay Mikovich's salary if he were selected.
"It certainly would help if the district is in a fiscal emergency," Krause said with a sense of urgency.
Also supporting Mikovich was former Chaney coach Ron Berdis.
"As I said before, my recommendation was for them to open this process up to all interested applicants and then let the best man win," said Berdis.
Webb said the board's vote is always a matter of opinion.
"Some folks have a different opinion in leadership. We put in a process and it's very hard to satisfy everybody, but you work the process fairly," she said. "That's going to be very hard. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the oil, but we wanted to be fair to the process."
When asked if there was any way to deviate from the process, Webb said: "You don't change a process in the middle of a concern just because everybody's not getting their way. Do you know of anytime in an election when everybody's happy?"
Another former Chaney coach, Ed Matey, who is now an assistant to John Tullio, the administrative assistant to the superintendent, explained Protopapa's selection.
"He was highly recommended by people we talked to at East Palestine, Lowellville and Campbell. He was very successful at Lowellville where they went to the playoffs twice. He's had a good career in coaching. He always wanted to be in a building where he coached and taught also, so this will be an opportunity for him to do that."
Matey said Protopapa was a teacher at Chaney before he went to East Palestine. He's now a teacher at Wilson, but is expected to be back in a classroom at Chaney.